News / Halifax

Mamma Mia! It's a wonderful season: Neptune Theatre will bring musical, holiday favourites amid major renovations

The Halifax theatre unveiled their 2017/18 lineup on Thursday, the last for artistic director George Pothitos.

Actors run through a scene from Mamma Mia! during a season launch Thursday.

Patrick Fulgencio for Metro

Actors run through a scene from Mamma Mia! during a season launch Thursday.

Neptune Theatre is bringing Stan Rogers, Mamma Mia, and a diverse variety of other plays to Halifax in a year of many changes.

The artistic director of eight years, George Pothitos, is ending his time at Neptune, while and there’s going to be plenty of renovations to the main theatre.

Pothitos’ final season includes productions that range from a docudrama and a thriller to a feel-good musical.

“We've got some wonderful regional stories, we've got some suspense and some docudrama... and then on top of that, we have a wonderful summer season with great music and we're going to end with ABBA,” said Lisa Bugden, Neptune’s general manager in an interview Thursday.

"I think that's the genius of George, and his approach to the season is really providing a range of different productions.”

Pothitos is proud to have many high quality productions to Neptune, especially Canadian ones. To him, it’s a no-brainer to create a season that will appeal to, and represent, a wide variety of people.

This way, people “actually feel like it's their theatre too,” said Pothitos.

Until the major renovations finish in November, the recently revamped Scotiabank Theatre will be the home of Neptune’s productions, beginning with the first summer production in 20 years: Stan Rogers: A Matter of Heart, a lively, foot stomping, tribute to one of Nova Scotia’s favourite singer-songwriters.

The mainstage series opens in September with Seeds, a play that Pothitos has wanted to bring to Neptune for years. The play is about a Saskatchewan man brought to court by Monsanto, a major agricultural corporation, after being accused of planting genetically modified seeds on his land.

Neptune is also doing The Mountaintop, a play about Martin Luther King Jr.’s final day, in partnership with the Black Theatre Workshop in Montreal. Pothitos has also wanted to bring this show to Neptune for a long time, and that partnership has finally made it possible.

"It's a great opportunity for us, especially during African Heritage Month,” said Pothitos.

Pothitos is proud about a lot of things from his time at Neptune: kicking off the renovations, seeing Neptune become nationally regarded, and starting the Open Spaces Program, which awards a free week of performance space and supports to one Nova Scotian theatre company a year.

As soon as Once wraps up at the end of May, renovations begin on the main theatre. Fountain Hall is getting more comfortable seats, new lighting and new sound technology, said Pothitos. The lobbies are also being refurbished, and the box office is being renovated.

The Fountain Hall will re-open with It’s A Wonderful Life beginning on November 21, directed by Pothitos. The Holiday season will also bring Dicken’s A Christmas Carol to Neptune from Nov. 28 until Christmas Eve.

Productions at Neptune for the 2017/18 season

* Stan Rogers: A Matter of Heart (Jul. 18 – Sept. 3)

* Seeds (Sept. 12 – Oct. 1)

* Snake in the Grass (Oct. 17 – Nov. 5)

* It’s A Wonderful Life (Nov. 21 – Dec. 31)

* Dicken’s A Christmas Carol (Nov. 28 – Dec. 24)

* Jonas & Barry in the Home (Jan. 16 – Feb. 11)

* Makayla Lynn Brings Nashville to Nova Scotia (Jan. 18 – 21)

* Salt-Water Moon (Jan. 30 – Feb. 18)

* Port Cities (Feb. 16 – 17)

* The Mountaintop (Feb. 27 – Mar. 18)

* Half-Cracked: The Legend of Sugar Mary (Mar. 13 – Apr. 1)

* Mamma Mia! (Apr. 10 – Jun. 3)

* Echoes of Time: Sagas, Tales and Myths (April 20 – 21)

* In the World Created by a Drunken God (May 1 – 20)

More on